Plans for a $500 million office building for the Social Security Administration predicted to bring 200 jobs to Frederick County are progressing after the recent sale of an Urbana property.
A letter from the Frederick County Board of Commissioners to the Social Security Administration on Tuesday expressed the county’s excitement over the project. ...
The new building is planned for use predominantly as a primary data operations center for the administration, along with some office space.The 400,000-square-foot building will incorporate sustainable technologies using energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, on-site renewable energy sources, water conservation, and the use of sustainable materials, according to the county’s letter.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2012.Meanwhile, Vivek Kundra, the Chief Information Officer for the Obama administration until last month, has written an op ed piece for the New York Times arguing that "governments around the world are wasting billions of dollars on unnecessary information technology" because of what he calls the "I.T. cartel ... [a] powerful group of private contractors encourages reliance on inefficient software and hardware that is expensive to acquire and to maintain." He argues for cloud computing, noting that the General Services Administration cuts its information technology costs by 50% using cloud computing. He states that cloud computing is "often far more secure than traditional computing, because companies like Google and Amazon can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies."
This comes on the heels of the firing of Ephraim Feig, who had been Social Security's Associate Chief Information Officer for Vision and Strategy. Feig was apparently advocating the same position as Kundra. This also comes on the heels of news that the federal government is closing 800 data centers at the moment.
As tight as money is at Social Security, there is an urgent need for a Congressional hearing on Social Security's planned national data center. I do not have the knowledge to debate the wisdom of building an expensive data center for Social Security but there is an obvious controversy that needs a public airing. There is too much money at stake not to fully explore the issues.